Resistance training (RT) increases strength in older adults, but there have been few studies of long-term RT or detraining in older adults. Postmenopausal participants (51–71 years of age) were randomized to RT or a control group for Year 1. For Year 2, participants chose whether to resistance train or not. Three groups emerged: train/train (n = 8: 60 ± 4 years), train/no train (n = 11: 62 ± 3 years), or controls (n = 17; 58 ± 6 years). Both training groups increased strength (p < .05) in Year 1. In Year 2, train/train maintained strength, whereas train/no train lost strength for knee extension (p < .001) but not for arm pulldown. Controls did not change. Reported physical activity levels were significantly increased in trainers in Year 1 and remained high regardless of RT in Year 2 (p < .05). Therefore, sustained changes in strength and physical activity behavior might be possible even if RT is discontinued.
Porter is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2. Nelson, Fiatarone Singh, Layne, Morganti, Trice, Economos, and Roubenoff are with the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111. Fiatarone Singh is also with the School of Exercise and Sports Science, University of Sidney, Lidcombe, Australia. Evans is with the Metabolism and Exercise Program. University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205.